Water becomes needed commodity in flood-ravaged Kentucky

National Guard soldiers rushed to distribute bottled water to flood-ravaged eastern Kentucky as forecasters warned of more rain coming to the region. In the days since historic flooding swamped the Appalachian region, the availability of water surfaced as a concern for victims after the floodwaters damaged water systems. As donations pour into the region, water is a top priority, along with cleaning supplies. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says water is being distributed as fast as possible. National Guard soldiers distributed more than 11,000 cases of water. It comes as intense heat and humidity add to the misery as people shovel out from the wreckage.

Forecasters trim hurricane season outlook a bit, still busy

Federal meteorologists say this hurricane season may not be quite as busy as they initially thought, but it should still be more active than normal. Thursday's updated hurricane outlook by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration trims a storm off some of the high end of predictions. It says there's a 60% chance of a busier than normal season. In May, NOAA was saying that was 65%. Colorado State University also is cutting back a tad on its hurricane forecast. But experts say that they still expect it to be a busy and potentially dangerous year.

Wind-whipped fire leaves Northern California hamlet in ashes

Some evacuation orders have been lifted for towns near a Northern California wildfire that has claimed at least four lives. Authorities on Wednesday said residents forced to flee the Siskyou County seat of Yreka and the town of Hawkinsville can return home but warned the fire remains a threat. The out-of-control blaze that began last Friday turned much of the hamlet of Klamath River to ash. Some residents are now picking through the burned out shells of their modest houses. Thunderstorms in recent days dumped much-needed rain but it also led to threats of mudslides in the fire-denuded areas. Wednesday's weather was drier but scorching temperatures remained.

Long days grind on search teams in flood-ravaged Appalachia

The long days searching debris-clogged creekbanks are taking a toll on search teams in flood-ravaged eastern Kentucky. Phillip Dix is leading a team from Memphis, Tennessee. He says his crew is used to the stifling heat and humidity. But he says they're tired under the grind of 12-hour days spent pulling people from danger. Temperatures are soaring in a region of eastern Kentucky where people are shoveling out the wreckage of massive flooding. Some are working without electricity. Officials opened cooling centers for residents. Gov. Andy Beshear says the death toll from the historic flooding in Kentucky remains at 37.

Most of Nebraska wildfire contained, despite lack of rain

Fire crews made substantial headway in containing a western Nebraska wildfire that earlier destroyed some homes. Ben Bohall with the Nebraska Forest Service said Wednesday morning that officials believe the Carter Canyon Fire south of Gering was about 85% contained after being only about 30% contained going into Tuesday. Fire crews had hoped for forecasted storms to bring heavy rains to help douse the flames, but Bohall said the storms instead brought only light showers and lightning strikes that sparked two additional fires. Bohall says crews quickly extinguished the new fires while continuing to form a containment line around the wildfire, which has scorched about 25 square miles of mostly grass and timberland.

A race to save fish as Rio Grande dries, even in Albuquerque

The Rio Grande went dry in Albuquerque last week for the first time in four decades. With it went critical habitat of the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow, a shimmery, pinky-sized fish native to North America's fifth-longest river. Summer storms have made the river wet again but experts warn the drying this far north is a sign of an increasingly fragile water supply, and that current conservation measures may not be enough to save the minnow and still provide water to nearby farms, backyards and parks.

Death toll in Northern California wildfire zone rises to 4

Authorities say two more bodies have been found within the burn zone of a huge Northern California wildfire, raising the death toll to four in the state’s largest blaze of the year. The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office says in a statement that search teams discovered the bodies Monday at separate residences along State Route 96. Two bodies were also found Sunday inside a charred vehicle in the driveway of a home near the tiny unincorporated community of Klamath River. More than 100 homes, sheds and other buildings have burned in the McKinney Fire since it erupted last Friday.

After the rain, heat descends on flooded Kentucky towns

Withering heat is descending over a region of eastern Kentucky already reeling from massive flooding. It's forcing residents laboring to clean up after the deluge to cope with an oppressive new threat. The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for flood-ravaged regions of eastern Kentucky from midday Wednesday until Thursday evening. It says heat index readings are expected to approach triple digits. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says the high heat and humidity will be the new weather challenge. The death toll stood at 37 on Tuesday after more bodies were found Monday in the ruined landscape.

Seattle area had six deaths blamed on last week's heat wave

The King County Medical Examiner’s office in Seattle has reported that there were six heat-related deaths during the heat wave that enveloped the Pacific Northwest last week. The Seattle Times reports three people — ages 64, 65 and 77 — died from hyperthermia between July 27 and 30, including one probable case, and three people — ages 22, 23 and 67 — died from accidental drownings. The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for the Puget Sound region from July 26-31, and Seattle set a new record with six straight days of high temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In Oregon, the state medical examiner’s office said it's investigating 14 deaths as possibly heat-related.

Crews battling Nebraska fire hope for rain, fear lightning

Fire crews battling a western Nebraska wildfire that has destroyed some homes are looking to the skies with hope and trepidation as weather forecasters warn of thunderstorms. The National Weather Service forecast a 50% chance of thunderstorms producing heavy rains Tuesday afternoon into the night. A storm could help douse the Carter Canyon Fire south of Gering that has scorched about 25 square miles of mostly grass and timberland. The fire has destroyed three homes and damaged several more in the Carter Canyon community that was evacuated Sunday. While fire crews would welcome rain, they fear lightning strikes that could spark new fires in the tinder-dry region. Firefighters had the fire about 30% contained going into Tuesday.

Despite dangers, deep roots make Appalachia hard to leave

The deadly flooding that hit the Appalachian region of eastern Kentucky is making some stalwart residents who have hung on through disappearing jobs and the opioid crisis consider leaving their small towns. Brenda Francis and her husband, Paul, have lived in Garrett for decades. Paul Francis was born 73 years ago in their house, which his parents gifted to the couple about 40 years ago. But Brenda Francis said she is done. She joins many others who see this latest disaster as a devastating final blow to their lifestyle here. Some say they’re considering moving away, despite their deep roots.

More rain, more bodies in flooded Kentucky mountain towns

Another round of rainstorms are hitting flooded Kentucky mountain communities. The rain fell Monday as more bodies emerged from the sodden landscape, and the governor warned that high winds could bring another threat — falling trees and utility poles. Gov. Andy Beshear said the death toll rose to 37, and hundreds of others remain unaccounted for. Radar indicated that up to 4 more inches of rain fell Sunday. The National Weather Service warns that slow-moving showers and thunderstorms could provoke more flash flooding through Tuesday morning.

Frustrating recovery could be hurricane harbinger for South

The continuing recovery from a small tornado that hit a poor Southern community shows how hard it may be to get over a big storm as the heart of hurricane season approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast. A weak twister hit a rural housing project southwest of Birmingham, Alabama, in April, and the cleanup and rebuilding still isn't done. Residents are frustrated, and officials say everything from geographic isolation to poverty and supply and worker shortages is slowing progress. A state official says any disaster recovery takes a while, and additional difficulties slow the process.

2 found dead in charred car within California wildfire zone

At least two people have died from a raging California blaze that's one of several menacing thousands of homes Monday in the Western U.S. The Siskyou County Sheriff's Office says two bodies were found inside a charred vehicle Sunday in a driveway of a home near the remote community of Klamath River in Northern California. The area is where the McKinney Fire has burned out of control since last Friday. Authorities say more than 100 buildings, including some homes, have burned and more are under threat. Thunderstorms in the area brought much-needed rain Monday but the uncertain weather is also bringing a chance of lightning that could spark new fires.

At least 14 potential heat deaths in Oregon after hot spell

Oregon authorities are investigating four additional deaths potentially linked to last week's heat wave, bringing the total number of suspected hyperthermia deaths to 14. The Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office said Monday the designation of heat-related death is preliminary and will require further investigation. The seven-day hot spell in the Pacific Northwest broke heat wave duration records in Portland, Oregon and Seattle. Excessive heat warnings in those cities have been lifted, but the warnings will remain through Monday evening in other parts of northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington state.